How would the Southern States be brought back into the Union after the North won the American Civil War? That was the question, and every body had their ideas. But how to do Reconstruction came down to three groups, Lincoln, Johnson, and Congress. Ultimately the military won! They divided the South into five military districts and assigned a general to each district to make sure the new rules were being followed.
While the military was there the Southern States did as they were told by the National Government. They had to ratify the Civil War Amendments - 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery, the 14th Amendment gave the Freedman their rights as citizens, and the 15th Amendment gave Black men the right to vote. The 14th Amendment is a fantastic amendment because now it guarantees our rights as citizens!
One of the first African American Congressman from Mississippi, Hiram Revels
Real progress was happening from 1866 to 1877. Partly because the military was there enforcing acceptance! For white Southerners acceptance was super hard to do. A culture had been created of racial superiority. In colonial days plantation owner figured out that poor whites and slaves were in the same boat. And the thought of them teaming up, and overthrowing them terrified them! That was a real possibility - so to make sure that never happened they created a divide among the two groups.
They told the poor whites for over a century your life is hard, but at least you are better than a slave! This worked, and now they had to abandon that idea, and accept equality! That could not be done overnight! I truly believe we are still struggling with this today! Our race issues stem from this time period! That is why we need to respect President Obama! One he is the President! He has earned your respect! And two this country elected a black man to the highest office in the land! Twice!
I was so thrilled we could watch his inauguration at school! It was encouraged! I just sat there, watching, and sobbing! So many students looked at me funny! But I said if you knew the history of this country - you'd be crying too!
This is respect! This 92 year old WW Veteran had the opportunity to meet the President, and stood! President Obama was embarrassed and said you can sit! The veteran said no - I am meeting the President! Wow!
Then the Compromise of 1877 happened, and everything changed! The South hated the military being there, and saw their opportunity to get rid of them! Hayes was running for President, and wanted the Southern States. The South basically said if you get rid of the military - we will give you our vote. Hayes said deal, and the first thing he did as President was get rid of the military. Reconstruction was over!
Now the South could do what it wanted! They wanted to make sure the Freedman did not exercise their new freedom. Really it is heartbreaking! Groups like the Ku Klux Klan formed to use violence and intimidation to make sure Black Men did not vote. Jim Crow Laws were written to keep the races separate. Plessy v. Ferguson in the 1890s upheld Jim Crow Laws and stated Separate but Equal. Sadly things were not equal. This was overturned in 1954 with Brown v. Board when the Supreme Court said Separate is inherently unequal.
The above image is scary to me! The question becomes Was it better to be a slave, or a free man? This is a fun question to discuss, and debate! The students always say the most interesting things!
White Southerners used fear, intimidation and violence to make sure blacks voted the way they wanted! After the military left the enacted Poll Taxes (requiring people to pay to vote - whites were grandfathered in - if your grandfather was not a slave you did not have to pay) and Literacy Tests. The 24th Amendment abolished Poll Taxes. They lasted almost 100 years! That is sad!
It was this ridiculous
I cannot imagine living in a society where everything was separated! I read an interesting article that said in a generation or two - there will not be anyone alive who was living during Jim Crow. I wonder what impact that will have? I will say one thing I love about the younger generations is that you are more tolerant!!!!
This song sums up the South! It was written by a confederate soldier!